Rise of an empire is the sequel to 300, a badass movie set in mythical Greece about a small group of 300 Spartans battling the biggest army in human history. At the end of the movie however, these Spartans all die so I wondered what that meant for this sequel. And after seeing it I can say that this movie is both totally worth seeing and a bit of a disappointment at the same time.
It’s totally worth seeing because it looks great. The environment (mostly CGI I’m guessing), colors, and just general tone of the scenes are just amazing. It’s at least as good as, probably more beautiful than 300. I would argue that one can probably pause the movie at any random time and end up with a still of movie poster quality.
The second strong point of the movie is the action. It’s also 300 quality or higher. Crazy slow-motion and high-speed action in individual fighting scenes are mixed with these wide angle scenes that portray just how huge these armies are that are fighting each other. Toss in a couple of crazy action scenes like a horse jumping from boat to boat and you’re in for some quite entertaining action scenes.
I haven’t mentioned the actual story yet because that’s exactly what makes the movie a bit of a disappointment. Basically they’ve replaced the badass red Spartans with the far less interesting blue Greeks. They’ve replaced the weird bold giant bad guy with his far more normal first commander. Even though she happens to be a chick I still found her half as entertaining as the bold weirdo. And these weaker substitutions don’t end here. There is a weaker father son relations in which one of them dies (spoiler alert), the pep talks are weaker, the tension in the final scene is much weaker, and just my general sense of excitement when I saw the movie was weaker. I was never positively surprised or intrigued by the story.
I conclude with the feeling that they should have switched these movies around. Had they come out with this movie first I would have been blown away by the visuals and the sheer awesomeness of the action. And had they put out 300 as a sequel it would have again been able to surprise by being even more badass with those Spartan fighting machines and simply better story. But they didn’t do it.
So I leave with this: Good movie, exciting movie, far less awesome as 300.